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Chapter: Medical Physiology: Rhythmical Excitation of the Heart

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Transmission of the Cardiac Impulse in the Ventricular Muscle

Once the impulse reaches the ends of the Purkinje fibers, it is transmitted through the ventricular muscle mass by the ventricular muscle fibers themselves.

Transmission of the Cardiac Impulse in the Ventricular Muscle

Once the impulse reaches the ends of the Purkinje fibers, it is transmitted through the ventricular muscle mass by the ventricular muscle fibers themselves. The velocity of transmission is now only 0.3 to 0.5 m/sec, one sixth that in the Purkinje fibers.

The cardiac muscle wraps around the heart in a double spiral, with fibrous septa between the spiraling layers; therefore, the cardiac impulse does not neces-sarily travel directly outward toward the surface of the heart but instead angulates toward the surface along the directions of the spirals. Because of this, transmis-sion from the endocardial surface to the epicardial surface of the ventricle requires as much as another 0.03 second, approximately equal to the time required for transmission through the entire ventricular portion of the Purkinje system. Thus, the total time for trans-mission of the cardiac impulse from the initial bundle branches to the last of the ventricular muscle fibers in the normal heart is about 0.06 second.



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